The Grace of Gratitude

Become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:7 (GNV)

Over the years I've been in some pretty dark places...a forest at midnight under a moonless sky; inside a cave without a flashlight; next to the fresh grave of a loved one... but the darkest place I've ever been is a land called...ingratitude. Fact is, I lived there for many years.

The land of ingratitude is usually littered with debris from past hurt and pain. It's characterized by the fallout of anger and resentment. There’s not much happiness there. Its inhabitants don't enjoy life, they endure it. I found a way out. Here’s some steps I took:

1) I listened to my own words. Seriously. If you could hear what others hear when you speak, you might be surprised...or ashamed...or both. I was. Do you speak "life" or "death" words? Do your words encourage or discourage? Ask a friend to help you monitor your verbal traffic for awhile. You'll gain much from their insight and assistance.

2) Confess ingratitude as a sin. It kept a whole generation of Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. At least seven times in Exodus it says, "They grumbled." Each time God said, "Alright, one more lap around the desert for you guys." It's difficult for God to use someone in a significant way who has an ungrateful heart.

3) Explore new avenues and opportunities for praise. Think about this: you have the power to give God something that no one else in the world can give Him--the daily love and adoration of your own heart. My friend, don't waste that.

4) Relax in His sovereignty. God is a master at bringing growth out of our pain, and turning waiting into blessing. We think of waiting as a parenthesis. It isn't. God works while we wait...setting everything back down in order, in His time and in His way. Believing that God is always at work on our behalf, even in the darkness...helps chase away the darkness. We call that faith. Faith+Gratitude=Peace.

If you're living these days in that dark, desolate, energy-robbing land called ingratitude, why not venture out and stand in the sunshine of thankfulness? Enjoy the warmth of gratitude. Let it free your soul. Spin and twirl and giggle a little bit if you’d like, but be thankful...deliriously so. People will notice. More importantly, you will change...for the better! Guaranteed. It's simple, really. And it sure beats the stuffing out of ingratitude. (A little Thanksgiving twist on words there!) I promise. I’ve been there.

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